Fox News and Bill O’Reilly have paid out around $13 million in settlements to five women who accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment or verbal abuse, the New York Times reports. The women, who all either worked for O’Reilly or appeared on his top-rated television program, “complained about a wide range of behavior, including verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating, according to documents and interviews,” per the Times investigation. The women were given the payouts in exchange for agreeing not to pursue litigation or make their allegations public. Some of the settlements were completed in secret, and two happened after former Fox News chief Roger Ailes was dismissed following his own sexual harassment scandal last year. The earliest O’Reilly settlement happened in 2002.
21st Century Fox, Fox News’s parent company, indicated in a statement to the Times that they are continuing to stand behind O’Reilly:
21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously. Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly … we have looked into these matters….